To name oneself is a powerful act of agency. It is perhaps one of the most empowering actions we can take as humans. To say, “I’ve been called this, but from henceforth I shall be called something else.”
Although I’ve already announced it in my newsletter, in this post I more publicly announce (and explain the reasons why) I am renaming my business from Luminous Leanings to Ellen Gilbert Coaching. I am claiming my name fully, no longer hiding behind a cute phrase that quite frankly I had to correct and explain at every turn (“Luminous Learnings” was the most common mistake)! And I am renaming myself from self-care coach to self-love coach. This comes with a new website, all new grown-up branding, and of course a new story, which I will tell here. I want to honor and embrace my origin in its fullness. So snuggle up and settle in for a little story.
Why Luminous Leanings?
Luminous Leanings was born in my apartment in Rockville, Maryland in the summer of 2018. At the time, I was working in the international women’s space and was very inspired to put what I was learning about self-care, personal development, and meditation into words. I knew if I shared them in blog form, I would be held accountable to continue doing the digging and unpacking for myself.
The name “Luminous Leanings” came from a desire for alliteration, an attachment to the concept of light (my name Ellen means light), and a liking of the blog name Brain Pickings, where each post was a picking making the whole collective the plural – “pickings”.
I was also very interested in the concept of positivity, ease, and lightness being at seeming odds with our natural negativity bias, which my Buddhist psychology studies was teaching me about. I wanted to inspire folks to lean toward the light rather than get pulled into the darkness of the ego and our social constructs. (This was before I started delving into shadow work and a more nuanced understanding of light and dark, and even toxic positivity.)
It was around this same time that I experienced a spiritual awakening, which I’ll get into more later. For the first time, I delved into Buddhist spirituality and philosophy and was able to observe my own thoughts without judgment or identification, which changed everything. Within a few months, I was teaching meditation here and there to friends, coworkers, and others in my professional networks, and beginning to research a career in coaching.
Fast forward to 2.5 years later and I’ve quit my job, moved across the country to New Mexico, completed my coaching certification, and plunged headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship. While at first choosing to focus exclusively on mindfulness & self-care, only a few months in, I noticed my language getting more and more femininst, goddess-y, and magical.
Then, about a year ago, I started a Moon Circle here in Albuquerque, and – despite my fear that it would resonate with no one – overnight we had 30+ members, today we have well over 100. The language I used in that womxifesto as I called it (my siren’s call to others who might wish to join me) was unapologetically divine feminine… and it worked. I truly feel I channeled what I wrote from a higher power – the words simply flowed through me, as they have every time since that I’ve taught on Divine Feminine concepts. This experience, combined with my personal exploration of goddess, menstrual cycle awareness, and healing inner patriarchy, has led me to become exclusively devoted to Divine Feminine topics. As terrifying as it is to leave the general “light and love” world of Luminous Leanings behind, I am deciding to leap and be caught by my faith in the Divine Feminine and the absolute abundance of what awaits me here…
But what the heck is the Divine Feminine?
In case you’re totally lost or confused, let me explain! The Divine Feminine, to me, is the reclaiming of those aspects of ourselves that have long been downcast and downgraded in society as lesser than – softness, vulnerability, grace, humility, creativity, rest, pleasure, slowing down, community, collaboration, joy – and calling them something more than human, something God-like that is beautiful, radical, and has the power to save all of humanity and the planet earth.
To witness, touch, and proclaim these aspects within us is to come home to our own true Goddess nature, regardless of where we identify on the gender spectrum or not. The world’s obsession, objectification, and relegation of women only makes this claiming for ourselves all the more radical. It is the simultaneous inner healing of internalized patriarchy and the outer shift of culture.
Because of a history of patriarchy, extractive capitalism, and white supremacy, we have all internalized oppression through shame. Meaning – we all use self-shame, self-judgment, and self-hatred to keep ourselves in line. This is the domestication of self, an undoing of the wild within us, a taming as Glennon Doyle calls it.
And it affects us all – regardless of gender, race, religion. Even those who stand to gain and benefit the most from these systems suffer under them. Because they don’t allow their full expression – specifically, they don’t allow their feminine energies. This is true for white women like me, who benefit under white supremacy and patriarchy through aligning themselves more with their white male counterparts than with their women of color counterparts.
To reject the feminine parts of ourselves is to align ourselves with patriarchy, to prioritize the male gaze because, after all, it is with and through men that we find our protection. So we suppress our nature which goes against the very grain of patriarchy and capitalism – the parts buried deep within the body that cry out for rest, to step off the conveyor belt and smell the roses, to connect human to human with deep eye contact, to move our bodies in a slow way just because it feels good.
Under an over culture that prioritizes the masculine and distorts the divine masculine – qualities like productivity, action, aggression, success, dominance – all players suppress their divine feminine. It has been historically unsafe for men to express vulnerability, authenticity, and softness, leading instead to a masculine fragility that can’t handle being talked down to, losing face, or being undercut. We all need the divine feminine more than ever to heal our inner shame and outer structures.
A divine feminine shift of power looks like the prioritization of Mama Earth, social safety nets, mental health care, and the arts. It urges us to listen to our bodies as we create policies, to understand that body, spirit, planet are one. That from love we all come and to love we all return.
Divine Feminine Self-Care & Self-Love
Divine feminine self-care, as I’ve defined it here, is one that prioritizes acceptance of what is while shamelessly pursuing rest, community, & pleasure. It’s an approach to wellness which says, I’m going to care for myself in this moment because it feels good & I am worthy. It rejects the claim that you need to buy another product, wait till you’re more perfect, or do it all on your own. It inherently welcomes a diversity of perspectives and connects care of the earth to care of the body. It intrinsically connects an individual’s self-care to the peace and wellbeing of all beings everywhere.
I used to call myself a self-care coach, and you’ll still see this language from time to time even after my full transition. I think of self-care as the activities – discreet rituals and routines – we undertake in an effort to shift how we feel – to relieve our suffering and simply feel better. I’ve felt the call to shift into self-love coach territory for many reasons, not the least of which is the misunderstanding of what self-care is. I believe the term has been co-opted by our capitalist over culture and polluted in many arenas to describe only those “instagram-worthy” activities we do, that usually come with a hefty inaccessible price tag. This is completely missing the point of the Divine feminine, which promises we don’t need a single thing to practice caring for ourselves.
I’ve also decided to shift from care to love, because to me, love encompasses both the activities of self-care and the entire relationship to self. Self-compassion is arguably the thing that set me on this course to begin with. The thing that, when I discovered it, I truly didn’t believe I was allowed to practice. It was so foreign, the concept that I could attend and befriend my inner life, and that it would actually make a difference. And what a difference it has made, I mark this entering into a relationship of compassion with myself as the beginning of my personal spiritual awakening.
Compassion is the heart of Buddhism, it has been said, and self-compassion is the heart of compassion. It is the natural care that attends our suffering. The “metta” or loving kindness we all desperately long for, and have the power to give ourselves. When we relate to our discomfort in this way, instead of pushing it away or judging it as bad or wrong, there is a natural softening, expansion, and ease that arises in its place.
My New Role
As a Divine feminine self-love coach, I will be shifting my content specifically to discuss subjects like feminism, mysticism, Goddess work, the moon cycles, menstrual cycles, healing internalized patriarchy and capitalism, shifting external patriarchy and capitalism, tending to Mama Earth, and law of attraction or what I call “Womanifestation” work, which is the divine feminine principle within manifestation. I will continue to offer Become Your Own Soul Mate – likely with a few more feminine tweaks, like a community element – and Womanifest, a group program coming in 2021.
You can also be sure that nothing is set in stone here. As the captain of this ship, I reserve the right to ride whatever waves may come however my intuition & the goddess guide me. And that includes the power to change my mind. 🙂
May we all relax and release into the trust of the changing nature of all things. May I specifically release my desire to over-explain or control this natural evolution coming in its own time. May we all ease into the slower pace of winter, the feminine and regenerative darkness, trusting that our dreams and visions and purposes will burst free of their cocoons in their own time.
Until then, Dear Ones, may you rest and play in divine feminine self-love.